Thursday, May 21, 2009

Energy Star sales tax holiday this weekend

If you’re in Texas and thinking about buying a new washing machine, air conditioner, refrigerator or dishwasher, listen up.

Our munificent state comptroller has declared Memorial Day weekend a sales tax holiday for certain Energy Star appliances. The holiday starts at 12:01am Saturday and ends at 11:59pm Monday.

Click here for the full skinny and save yourself some scratch.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

For whom the stool tolls

The hours leading up to last Saturday's Stool Pigeon show at ColdTowne Theater had me on tenterhooks. I'm accustomed to being onstage, but not without a band of compatriots bearing amplification devices. As showtime approached, I became hyper-aware of every verbal tic and wished I'd given more consideration to debate as an elective in high school.

Fortunately, the evening's improv players really put my mind at ease. Before going out, everyone literally told me they had my back. It was a simple enough acknowledgment, but it made a big difference.

I ran through my three true-life stories quicker than I expected, but I didn't get mired in any narrative cul-de-sacs, which was good. Then the laser-witted Stool Pigeon crew extrapolated all kinds of crazy-funny tangents from some of my favorite embarrassing actualities.

Nearly 25 years after the fact, I can now say it was totally worth it when I stepped in a pile of livestock shit on Ag Day and got it all over the back of my jeans while kneeling down to perform CPR on the Resuscitation Annie doll during health class. Thanks, Stool Pigeon!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Stool Pigeon this Saturday!

If you're reading this in the Austin area, come on out to ColdTowne Theater this Saturday, May 16 at 8pm as I submit to the exciting, red-faced whimsy of “Stool Pigeon.”

As the evening’s designated “Stool Pigeon,” I will tell true-life stories about myself, which will then be spun into comedic gold by some of Austin’s most talented improv performers. I won’t say anything about the stories I’ll be telling, but I guarantee plenty of anxiety on my part.

ColdTowne Theater is at 4803 Airport, right next to I Luv Video. Cover is just $5 and you can buy advance tickets here. Arrive at least 15 minutes early because it’s a small room, and unlike a Gallagher concert, there won’t be any plastic sheeting to protect you from my residual flop-sweat.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

The port never sleeps

When I was in sixth grade, they sent us across town to the Port of Houston magnet elementary school for a week to teach us the rudiments of international trade. It was a nice respite from the triple R's. By the time Friday rolled around, I hardly noticed the not-so-sweet smell of heavy industry anymore.

The week's highlight was taking a boat tour of the port aboard the Sam Houston. We even got free bottles of Coke.

Cool as that was, it can't possibly compare to this time-lapse footage from LouVest of a night run down the Houston Ship Channel to Galveston Bay (via MetaFilter).

Friday, May 08, 2009

Five things you might want to know

Legendary Texas sportswriter Edwin “Bud” Shrake died this morning at age 77. The longtime companion of former governor Ann Richards was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer last August.

Though not as well-known as Texas A&M’s Aggie Muster, UT has been quietly memorializing its departed associates for 21 years with its “UT Remembers” ceremony. The tower lights will be dimmed tonight in honor of 157 UT students, graduates and associates who died this past year.

The former Gap Women location in the Central Market shopping center off N. Lamar is now a regular Gap with clothes for the menfolk.

Gunther von Hagens, the creepy-looking German doctor who brought us Body Worlds, has opened a controversial new exhibit in Berlin that features skinless, plasticized corpses "having sex."

Why not have a quick guffaw at the expense of hipsters and families who made the mistake of having their photos taken?

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Last Ron Titter show (for awhile)

Friday, May 8 is your last chance to catch The Ron Titter Band in action for the foreseeable future.

Bassist Reed Burnam is heading to India with his new fiancée for the summer, so the boys and I will be taking another sabbatical of unknown duration. As we've all learned in one form or another, real life has a way of stymieing a perfectly servicable non-career in the lower arts.

If the thought of enduring an entire season (or more) without the sweet salve of Titter sends red hot rails of fear up your spine, grab three bucks for cover and shake yourself on down to the Hole in the Wall at 10pm this Friday. It'll be a stone gas, but not in the way you're thinking.

Then stick around for the proletarian poptones of the Service Industry and Churchwood, a new, Beefheart-infused quintet featuring Austin music vets like guitarist Bill Anderson (Meat Purveyors, Horsies, Poison 13), bassist-turned-drummer Julien Peterson (Brown Whornet, Cat Scientist), vocalist Joe Doerr (Hand of Glory), guitarist Billy Steve Korpi (Crack Pipes) and my Summer Breeze/Captain Smoothe mate Adam Kahan (Invincible Czars, Jazzus Lizard) on bass.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Famous architect

When I was in preschool, a teacher once asked me what my dad did for a living.

“He’s a famous architect,” I replied.

That wise-beyond-years observation became even more irrefutable last week when my dad was elevated to the American Institute of Architects’ College of Fellows for making significant contributions to the profession. Becoming a fellow is a high honor for architects; out of 86,000 AIA members, fewer than 2,600 are fellows.

Kate and I were privileged to witness the investiture ceremony, which was held Friday afternoon at San Francisco’s historic Grace Cathedral on Nob Hill. Despite persistent rain, I can't imagine a better city to be invested in.

Now that my dad is a fellow, his professional acronym has been upgraded to “FAIA,” which I believe stands for “Famous Architect I Admire.”